Traffic and Travel: Time to plan the ultimate Derry Halloween experience!
The countdown is on to Derry's new look Hallowe'en celebrations, so for anyone planning on visiting the Awakening the Walled City events over the weekend, Council has issued advice and information to help plan the journey.
With an extended Hallowe'en trail this year spanning a number of worlds taking in the Cityside and Waterside, as well as Strabane and Donegal, a number of road closures will be introduced in the City to open up even more space for pedestrians.
This will create a crowd-friendly circuit that can accommodate considerable footfall, allowing for social distancing and better crowd management while enabling people to enjoy the wide variety of themed locations and experiences safely and at their leisure.
The City experience will be delivered over three themed zones/worlds as follows: Zone/World One – Queen's Quay to Harbour Square Roundabout and Foyle Marina; Zone/World Two – Guildhall Square/Waterloo Place, City Centre and Urban Villages; Zone/World Three – Ebrington Square, St Columb's Park, St Columb's Park House and Greenway.
To facilitate this the following roads will be closed to traffic or have traffic restrictions in place for the event:
· Road Closure at Shipquay Street, Butcher Street, Bishop Street within, Ferryquay Street between the hours of 2pm and 12midnight.
During these hours access and egress from Bishop Street Carpark will be via Bishop Gate only.
· Society Street Carpark, Foyle Street Carpark, Strand Road Carpark and Queens Quay Carpark will be closed.
· Road closures will be introduced along the Queens Quay from Harbour Square Roundabout to Queens Quay Roundabout from 5pm to 10pm.
Please note that this may result in some diversions and delays and all times are approximate, but road closures and diversions will be kept to the minimum length necessary to ensure safety.
Drivers are reminded that normal on street parking restrictions will be in place and people should avoid parking anywhere they may be blocking entrances to residences or businesses or where they may be obstructing emergency access.
A free shuttle bus service will be operated by Translink between the NW Transport Hub and Foyle Street from 5pm – 10pm for easier access between the Cityide and Waterside zones.
For information on Translink bus and rail services to and from the city go to https://www.translink.co.uk/
Parking is available at a number of locations throughout the City:
Cityside carparks - Foyleside Shopping Centre Car Park East, Foyleside West and Quayside Shopping Centre, Foyle Road, Magee Campus (Lawrence Hill), Fort George, Carlisle Road and William Street. Strand Road carpark will be for accessible carparking only.
Waterside carparks - Oakgrove School, Foyle Arena, Foyle College, Harper Quay, Spencer Road and Former Waterside Health Centre Car Parks.
Accessible Drop Off - Cityside -Whittaker Street and Waterside – Ebrington. Vehicles stopping to drop off passengers are advised to park in a safe location.
On Hallowe'en night the fireworks finale will close the celebrations at 9pm. The display will take place on two barges located on the River Foyle and in the interests of health and safety the Peace Bridge will be closed from 8.30pm in advance of the display. It will reopen at 9.30pm when the fireworks display is over. Visitors are advised to spread out while watching the fireworks, with viewing points extended from the Peace Bridge right down to the Fort George Science Park.
A quiet space will be available in the Guildhall each day from 12noon – 10pm, and parents and carers can also pick up safety wrist bands at the Guildhall information point. Please be mindful that some of the areas are quite dark, with many paths so keep your little ones close. Council are encouraging families to bring their own glow in the dark lanterns or sticks to add to the event as you meander through the streets and paths.
For anyone with additional needs – a full guide to available support is available here - https://derryhalloween.com/about/accessibility/
Festival and Events Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Jacqueline Whoriskey, said it was important for people to plan ahead.
"We are expecting big crowds for this year's festivities so I want to appeal to people to prepare in advance so they can get the most from their visit.
"This is an extensive walking trail spread over several kilometres so we are advising people to try to break their visit up over two evenings if possible, so they can enjoy the experience at their leisure. Comfy shoes are a must, and be weather ready!
"If possible we would advise using public transport to avoid the hassle of parking – we do have lots of public car parking but with the anticipated crowds a space isn't guaranteed. I would recommend downloading our Derry Halloween app – this will give you the lowdown on all that's going on and all the information you need to plan your journey.
"I would appeal to everyone to please follow the guidance of our stewards and the PSNI – they are there to keep the event running smoothly and everyone safe. We are still emerging from a pandemic so I would also encourage everyone to be respectful of other people's space, and take a lateral flow test if you can before visiting. If you have any Covid symptoms, please be responsibly and stay at home.
"We have put so much into creating this year's experience and we are just delighted to welcome visitors back to our beautiful city once again. So please play your part and help us deliver a safe and enjoyable Hallowe'en for everyone."
Derry Hallowe'en is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from Tourism Northern Ireland, the Executive Office, Translink, Donegal County Council and the North West Development Fund.
You can find all the details about traffic and travel and the full programme on derryhalloween.com